Protests have erupted in Baltimore after a black man died from a spinal injury he suffered while in police custody.

Shepard Smith reported today that Freddie Gray's spinal cord was "nearly 80 percent severed" after he was handcuffed and put in the back of a police van.

The Associated Press reported:

Gray was taken into custody April 12 after police "made eye contact" with him and another man in an area known for drug activity, police said, and both men started running. Gray was handcuffed and put in a transport van. At some point during his roughly 30-minute ride, the van was stopped and Gray's legs were shackled when an officer felt he was becoming "irate," police said.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Gray asked for an inhaler and then several times asked for medical care. He was eventually rushed to a hospital.

Gray died Sunday — a week after his arrest — of what police described as "a significant spinal injury."

Exactly how he was injured and what happened in the van is still not known.

Smith stated that the six officers who arrested Gray have been suspended with pay from the department. He also said that the Justice Department has opened a civil rights investigation into Gray's death. 

Judge Andrew Napolitano explained that Gray's arrest was clearly "unconstitutional and unlawful."

Napolitano stated that Gray's actions of "making eye contact" with police officers and running from them do not constitute being arrested. 

He added that it's unusual for the Justice Department to enter a case like this before the local authorities have.

"I think that the reason the Justice Department has done so is not only because of the racial implications here ... but because the local government. The local prosecutors have had 10 days, as you just pointed out, to reveal a cause of death and to file charges against these cops," Napolitano said.

Watch more in the video above.

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